How to Access your Web Hosting Server

When talking about your files, I always tell clients to Keep Your Files Clean and Organized! There’s nothing worse than trying to find an image through a chaotic and disorganized filing system. Deleting old files that no longer exist is always a good move, however if you need to keep it, create a folder for these old files, or just back it up on your desktop or remote hard drive. Bottom line: Keep your files clean! Watch my video below and learn how to access your web hosting server.

3 ways to access your web hosting server

  1. through the Media tab in WordPress
  2. through FTP – File Transfer Protocol
  3. through the File Manager in your cPanel

1) Media Tab in WordPress

I only use the media tab when uploading images that are part of a blog post and simple page images only. If I am doing something more complex, like uploading manuals, pdf’s, or if I’m doing a series of images that I know I will need to edit later on, I will upload them into a specific folder that I create via FTP (see below). This allows me to know exactly where I have uploaded it and if I need to replace it, it’s a simple drag, drop and replace, rather than sifting through the Media Library, deleting them, re-uploading them, and re-linking them.

Pro’s: You see all your images in a glance.

Con’s: WordPress places your uploads automatically into specified folders sorted by date of upload. You don’t have control over the placement and organization of these files and if you try to link or edit them, they are difficult to find. You will need to view the image location through WordPress or your browser. The files are typically located in folders like this: http://yourdomain.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/hello.png

Another reason is that when you upload through the Media Tab, WordPress creates a whole bunch of duplicate files (jpg’s and png’s) with different crop sizes for specific functions such as feature image, post image and scales to smaller sizes that you may or may not use. Most of these are unnecessary and just adds more files to your server which you don’t need.

Lastly, if you want to replace an image with the same name, WordPress doesn’t seem to update the image. You will need to rename it a different name and re-link if necessary which equals HEADACHE.

2) FTP – File Transfer Protocol

The software that the public majority use is FileZilla. It allows you to view your files on the remote server through an application.

A fair word of warning: it is very easy to have slippery fingers and accidently move a folder/file into another folder (I’ve done this several times) and this is the point where you want to cry if you can’t find where it went. Especially if it’s a file that is named like cgi-bin or something you can’t pronounce. So be careful and make sure every time you select and click something, it’s calculated and you know what you are doing.

To replace any files, just drag and drop it and replace the existing file. If it’s an image that is linked, you do not need to re-link it as the name is the same. This is a cleaner process.

If I am creating special PDF’s and images, I will create an “images” folder or “pdf” folder and store my files there. This makes it for easy reference for linking such as http://www.yourdomain.com/images/hello.pdf

To log into your server through FTP

  1. Go to https://filezilla-project.org to download and install the application
  2. Open Filezilla, go to File / Site Manager / New Site
  3. Enter in your host name, username and password. This is the same username and password as your cPanel. Hit connect.
  4. Once logged into your server, you will see 2 windows. On the left you will see your local files which is your computer, on the right, you will see the remote server where your web files are stored. To upload or download, drag from your left (local) to the right (remote), or vice versa.

3) File Manager in cPanel

  1. To locate the File Manager, login to your cPanel.
  2. On the top left, click on Files.
  3. On the right main window, click Files Manager. This will open a new window.
  4. Go into your public_html folder. This is where all your files are stored relating to your website.

The File Manager in cPanel is very similar to FileZilla, however I find this generally takes more time with the fact that it’s a browser interface rather than a stand alone program.

Where are your files?

Below is a list of where commonly accessed files are stored.

  • public_html – where all your www files are stored. This is considered your root directory. If you wish to add folders here such as an images folder, you may do so.
  • themes – public_html/wp-content/themes
  • plugins – public_html/wp-content/plugins
  • media library – public_html/wp-content/uploads/